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Default Setting: Kindness

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    For some of us, kindness is automatic; we are just kind by nature (most of the time, anyway – there are moments… 😉 ). And it can be confusing at times when others are less than kind, whether to us directly or to others. But something we may then need to do, when we see unkind things happening, at whatever level, is take our own kind approach up a level and consider what that person, who appears to be unkind, is feeling or experiencing just now. They may be having a bad day, have just had some rotten news, or they’re struggling to feel anything positive in the world.

    Of course this is easier to manage when the unkindness is directed at us; for other times we should champion kindness however we can, but still fairly and with compassion, rather than anger.

    And breathe…

    This does all take practice, to take a breath and stop to consider beyond ourselves. I suppose this is a form of mindfulness, being mindful of others when that may not be the easiest thing to do. But I find it helpful, my own mind is calmer, more peaceful, there is less rage or despair in my head.

    And I’m reminded of learning that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Perhaps it is actually easier on our mental well-being to be kind rather than angry or cross or generally negative. And I appreciate this is not possible for everyone or for every situation. But if we can pause for a moment and put ourselves in another person’s shoes, just for a moment, maybe it can be easier to be calm. And that really is better for us; I’ve certainly found that being angry is less helpful in just about every situation. It took many years to learn this, and the recent openness about mental well-being which hopefully can bring about a generally gentler way for more of us.

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